Dogfish Head Brewery is one of the most well known US breweries, and here in San Antonio, we get a really good amount of their beers. Every now and then there is a beer released by DFH that has not yet hit the TX market, and Kvasir is one of those, but thanks to my good friend in Cali, Jorge Espinoza of the website brewerianimelogs, I was able to get my Metal hands on this beer. Kvasir is part of DFH’s Ancient Ales series, which one of them has already graced this website before when I reviewed Chateau Jiahu.
The story of Kvasir is an interesting one, both in mythology and the story of the beer, itself. According to Norse mythology, Kvasir was a being born from the saliva of the Æsir (power & war) and the Vanir (cultivation & fertility). Kvasir was killed and drained of his blood, which was then mixed with honey making a mead. The Mead was known as the Mead of Poetry, which would give the drinker wisdom and eventually resulted in the introduction of poetry to mankind. As for the beer, the Dogfish Head team, along with help from bio-molecular archaeologist Dr. Patrick McGovern, and Swedish brewery, Nynashamns Angbryggeri unearthed the secrets of this ale. According to the DFH website, the recipe was developed with the help of chemical, botanical, and pollen evidence taken from a 3,500 year old Danish drinking vessel. Dr. McGovern said that the vessel, which was made of birch bark, was found in a tomb of a lather-clad woman, who was probably an upper-class dancer or priestess. This story, is what inspired the artwork on the bottle, even though I would have preferred the artwork to hold more of a significance to the actual story of Kvasir and be a little more brutal than the cartoon girl that is there.
Poured into a snifter glass, this Ancient Ale’s appearance was a hazy reddish brown color, similar to a cranberry, and the darker color on the beer label. There was an off-white, eggshell colored head, which sat at less than an inch wide, and retained throughout the session. Good, web-like lacing left down the glass. This definitely looked like a fruit beer.
The aroma was a lot of fruit, which hit my senses first. Sweet, tart fruits like the cranberries and lingonberries were dominant in the nose. Scents of honey, strawberry, and wine grapes are also present. Behind all the fruit there is a nice aroma of herbs, grains, honey, and biscuit. The main thing to say about the aroma is that it is very hard candy-like.
The taste is just as complex as the aroma. All the characters make an appearance. The tartness of this beer hits the palate first with the flavors of the used fruits, lingonberries and cranberries. Other fruits that come to mind in the flavor here are strawberries, cherries, and there is even a white wine grape-like taste. Peaking through from behind the fruit flavors is a nice bouquet of herbs, and spices. Hard to pinpoint an exact herb here, but since so many were used, it all combines together, giving this beer a good spice to counter the tartness of the fruit. On the back end, there is a good amount of honey and syrup sweetness, and a nice biscuit bread taste. The aftertaste is back to the tart fruit.
The body is light-medium in thickness, which works well with this fruit dominant beer. The mouthfeel is slick and syrupy with moderate carbonation.
Overall, I was highly impressed by this beer, giving it my highest rating of 5 skulls! I love the experimentation that Dogfish Head does, especially with these Ancient Ales. I love how they think outside of the box, dig up some old recipes and try to recreate them with today’s brewing technology. Just like in the Metal scene, I have already seen the negativity from the fans saying that it is not cool to like Dogfish Head anymore, cause they are one of the “Big Guys!” I say, screw that and just enjoy what you want to enjoy, no matter where it comes from. I still say this bottle should had way better label art. Eh, what can you do… Enjoy this beer! Cheers!
Metal Connection: This one was so fuckin’ easy! Norse Mythology, hmm, I wonder who I would pick? Oh, I know, Enslaved, a Norwegian band who’s lyrical content is all about Norse Mythology, Vikings, and the like. On the band’s 3rd full length album, Eld, they recorded a song titled “Kvasirs Blod” (Translated to: The Blood of Kvasir). All the lyrics on this album are sung in their native language, but they have all been translated into English. “Kvasirs Blod” tells the tale of the rise and fall of Kvasir. I have included the entire translated English version for you all to read. Again I say, this is why I believe this beer should have a more brutal label representing this Ancient Ale.
A war ruled in ancient times
Between the holy races, the Vanirs and the Aces
When peace came, the deities united
From a bowl filled with spit rose Kvasir
“Wise he becomes, he drinks the holy mead
the blood of Kvasir, but not he who drinks
from the spilled mead that dripped
from the falcon”
Kvasir the father of poets by dwarf hands he died
From the blood of Kvasir they made the mead of poets,
the holy drink
Fjalar and Galar once murdered Gilling the Giant,
the father of Suttung
Enraged, Suttung demanded justice to be fullfilled
The blood of Kvasir became the mead of Suttung
Grimne flew out from Valhalla
In the shape of the falcon
To the home of Giants and to Nitberg
Bauge was decived, and Gunnlod betrayed
Out from Nitberg the falcon flew
Finally Kvasir should return to Aasgard
But when the mead disappeared Suttung became furious
Out, in the shape of the eagle he followed
Sadly, Grimne had to spill from his valuable treasure
Which led to the making of the false poets
The falcon flew home to his domains
And Suttung flew into the flames of Tjalve